Cross-Flow Treatment of PFAS in Water: Materials Challenges and Potential Solutions

By Nadagouda, Mallikarjuna N., and Tae Lee
Acc. Mater. Res.
February 23, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/accountsmr.0c00106

Poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) are manufactured chemicals made of fluorine atoms bonded to a carbon chain with a terminal functional group. PFASs are highly resistant to oil, water, chemicals, and heat, due to strong C–F bonds; therefore, they have been extensively used in various industrial applications, including but not limited to automotive, wrapping, cookware, and clothing.(1) However, an increasing number of studies have identified adverse impacts of PFAS exposure on human health.(2) Despite the growing concern of human exposure to PFAS by drinking water, PFAS removal from water remains a challenging issue as conventional water treatment methods (e.g., flocculation, sedimentation, or biodegradation) are not capable of treating a broad array of PFAS compounds.(3) Adsorption-based technologies such as granulated activated carbon (GAC) filtration or anion exchange (AIX) also have shown limited effectiveness for short-chain PFASs (e.g., perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorobutyrate (PFBA), or GenX) with low sorption potential.(4) In this regard, recent advances in materials research on thin-film composite (TFC) membranes, which have shown highly efficient PFAS removal from water, are drawing significant attention within the scientific community.


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